Monday, November 17, 2014

Sick Days and Learning to LOVE

My kids are all home today.
It's a Monday.
It's not a holiday.
It's not my choice.
One doesn't go to school on Mondays, and the other two are home sick. They are sick enough (coughing) that I know it would be obvious to others, but not sick enough that they are lazy and just want to rest on the couch and be cuddly.
The sad part is I don't get my time with just one kid like normal. It makes Monday a little harder for me. And they feel like now they need to be entertained all day...
The nice part is it is cold and wet and dreary out. And I don't think I'll have to go out in it at all. And my schedule wasn't booked, so I'm not rescheduling my day...

For most, kids being home sick might not be a big deal.
For me, it seems hard.
I don't think it should be.
This is the first time my kids have taken "sick days." They have either been sick when school was out for the weekend or snow or holidays...or I have sent them even if they were just a "little" sick. I'm sure other parents may read this and get upset and say I am THAT mom that got YOUR kid sick...but I could say the same about how mine got sick too...and germs build up our immune system, right?

My kids are in Kindergarten and preschool. Them missing for being sick (or any other reason) is not a big deal yet. They aren't getting work sent home because they missed so much. They will go back and won't be so behind that they feel bad about missing.

But I think I have allowed them missing (or not missing) to become a reflection of my parenting. I was upset that Micah got a "tardy" while I was out of town and I found out on his progress report and now his record for the year is "tarnished." It probably bothered me way more than it should have!

If I get my kids to school on time and pick them up on time every day, then I'm a good mom. I have it all together. I have it together enough to get them all up and fed and ready and to school on time. And other people think I'm awesome because of it (or at least I like to think they think I'm awesome!). If we plan vacations and trips around school holidays then we are better parents for not taking them out of school and therefore taking school lightly. If my kids aren't staying home sick, then I am obviously the best mom on the block that can keep my kids healthy all year long.

Or I am missing out on trips and extra time with family because we "can't" miss school.
Or I am sending my kids to school just a little sick because I don't want them to miss.

I want them to be considered a good student. I want them to be seen as the kid and the family that has it all together. Not like the family that can't ever make it on time. That can't make their kid's lunch in the morning. That is always the last one to pick their kid up. Where ever they go! That can't keep their kid healthy enough to be in school...

And there it is. The judgmental side of me that also always feels like I'm being judged. The side of me that finds my identity in what others think of me (or at least in what I think others think of me). The side that finds my identity in being the mom that has it all together. The mom that has kids that get to walk up at the end of the year and get an award for perfect attendance and be seen once again as the mom that must have figured it all out!

But my kids are home sick. And that's the truth of it. And I don't want to risk them getting their friends sick just so I can keep my identity...And I desperately want to be okay with it. Really okay.
As much as I want to be seen as the "together mom" I also DON'T want to be seen this way because I know I don't have it all together and I know if I appear this way, others will always look at me and feel like they can't measure up and feel like they can't be around me. And that is the FARTHEST thing from what I want. But that's what I (we) do. Especially us women. We compare. SO much. TOO much.

And I don't want comparison.
I want friends. I want genuine friendships.

What if we just loved ourselves and loved each other.
Through our weaknesses. In spite of our junk. BECAUSE of our weaknesses and junk and insecurities and failures and sick kids...

If we were so busy loving ourselves and loving each other, we wouldn't have time to compare ourselves with each other and worry about how we are being compared to and judged.
How great would THAT be!?!

That's what I want.

So, my kids are sick.
But when they are better, let's hang out.
Let's be friends.
Let's be genuine.
Let's LOVE each other.
And ourselves!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Is it worth the risk?

Me and Bob Goff!

I just got back from a fabulous opportunity to go to a conference (Storyline Conference) where I met some of my favorite writers, speakers, and bloggers! It was small, up close, and personal. There were hard questions that I sort of want to shy away from but also really want to process. Things I don't know the answer to and am sort of not sure if I want to know the answers. But really know I should work to find the answers.

There are a few things that stick out more than others. That keep rolling around in my head. That won't get out of my thoughts. One was something Bob Goff (wrote the book Love Does) said in his talk to close out the two-day conference. It was in the mix of other stuff. But it stood out to me. It's not something I haven't heard before. But is obviously something I needed to hear again. And something I need to process.

"I would rather fail trying than fail watching."

My immediate thought was, "I would rather not fail. I would rather not fail than fail trying."

I'm not totally sure why. I'm not sure what has put this in me. I know I have always been the person that doesn't want to raise my hand in class unless I know I'm right. I don't want to risk being wrong. I'm the person that wouldn't try out for a team if I thought I wouldn't make it. I wouldn't apply for a job unless I was sure I was going to get it. It doesn't mean I always accomplished these things, but when I was wrong or would lose or would not make the team or wouldn't get hired...I was reminded of why I didn't want to try in the first place. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear. Lots and lots of fear.

But God is not a God of fear. And he has not called us to live in fear. He has called us to live in LOVE. And there is risk in love.

But maybe it's worth it?

Yes, I think it's worth it.

This is still in my head right now. I don't think it has made it to my heart. There is still fear for me. I still sort of think I would rather not fail than fail trying. Because if I fail trying, then I might be a failure. For some reason I think I am going to be defined by this. By my mess-ups. By my failures.

But my mind is sort of shifting to start wondering if this is also failing? Am I failing by not even trying? Not trying to just BE ME. Not trying to risk relationship. Not trying to make new friends. Not trying to figure out what my story is and how God wants me to live it. Not trying new things.

My thinking is starting to shift a little.

Just a little.

Because it is still hard and scary and I still have a fear of failure.

But I think my definition of failure needs to change a little. Or a LOT.

And I need to remember something else Bob said, "It's okay to fail because you'll fall into the arms of Jesus."

YES!'s okay to try, and fail, and fall into the arms of Jesus!

I know there is so much more to this. And to all the other questions and statements that people were speaking directly to me during those two days.

But here's to trying. And risk. And failure. And falling. Into His arms.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Is It Tomorrow Yet?

I have been finding myself saying the phrase "tomorrow" a lot lately.

Tomorrow I will get back on track with my eating...

Tomorrow I will get up early to run...

Tomorrow I will stop being passive aggressive...

Tomorrow I will think of others before myself...

Tomorrow I will read the Bible more...

Tomorrow I will be a better mom...

Tomorrow I will be a better friend...


But, the problem seems to be that every day when I wake up, it is TODAY again...

I think I need a new "plan."

I need to think more often about today instead of tomorrow...

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Mt 6:34)

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Gift of Going Second

That time I grew a mustache...

I like free things.

I know really "nothing in life is free" but even still, I like to think it can be in some way.

I am often hesitant to buy a book or watch a movie unless I know without a doubt it is going to be good, I already love the author/actors, or have heard amazing things about them. But if they are free...that's a whole other thing.

I used to go to at least one conference a year while working for my previous church and I loved it! I'm a learner. An experiencer. The hands-on of being there (wherever there might be for that conference) and experiencing the crowd, the noise, the people, the words of wisdom...Don't get me wrong, I am an introvert and I often sneak away at these things just to have a moment of silence and people-watch...but all in all, I enjoy it for the usual 2-3 days these things last. I can usually handle it for that long.

Another thing I like about these conferences is the "free swag." I know, I know...I paid for the conference, so it's not technically free. But it still feels like it to me in the moment. And often this includes books. That I might not otherwise ever buy, but that end up being great (sometimes. sometimes not.). One such book I got years ago that had a great impact on my life (at the time) was Permission to Speak Freely.

I would love to always feel like I have permission to speak freely. I think that's why I was excited about it. What could I learn? What could this look like in my life? Could I be so bold? Could I speak freely? Always?

It's been years, and I remember bits and pieces, but overall, the biggest thing I walked away with after reading this book was the "gift of going second." And I tried hard to put it into practice. And I learned of others trying to put it into practice after I talked about it in a staff meeting. The overall idea is going first (whatever this may look like) and therefore giving others the "gift of going second." This has a lot to do with authenticity. Sharing life- the ups and the downs. The struggles and junk especially. The stuff we don't want to share and don't want anyone else to know about. That's the stuff we should be sharing first so that others realize they are not alone and are willing to share also. They are willing to go second.

I share all of this with the realization that I feel like I have gotten away from this. It is so much easier and more natural for me to keep my thoughts and ideas to myself. To keep my struggles hidden (past and present). To judge others for their junk and pretend like I don't have any. To not talk and not share. To just not even think about it. To only think of me and my comfort level and not think about others and how me sharing first could impact them and help them share more freely. To think about how it's easier to give one-word (often not authentic) answers and move on with life. To not think about going into more detail and being real. It's just easier not to be.

And I share all of this so that I will not just think in my head that I should put this into practice, but to make it public (with the 3 people who read this blog) and be held a little more accountable in these thoughts.

A friend recently sent a long message about life and where's she's at and what she's been going through and what's going on and all that jazz. And I loved it. I thought, "if she had just asked how I was doing, I would have said Good and probably not much more." But she didn't. She shared. The good and the hard. And she gave me the Gift. I wanted to share more back because she shared first.

I want to give others this Gift. Let's all work together to give the gift of going second.

Friday, September 5, 2014

That day I cried...

It certainly doesn't happen very often.
It might be because I don't have a heart.
It might be because I don't have tear ducts.

Or it might be because I just don't want to feel things deep enough to allow myself to cry...That hurts. And I don't want to hurt. And I don't like to cry. And worse than crying is crying in front of people...and then having to rub my snotty nose on my shirt because I have nothing else...

I have been more emotional than normal (basically emotional period, because normal = not emotional) during my 3 pregnancies and shortly thereafter.

I have been more emotional than normal around that special time of the month that we women experience...although I truly think that men experience this too...

But when neither of these things are happening, and I start to feel emotional, I get really nervous...

When I get overwhelmed in a conversation with new friends and the realization that they care...that they are okay with me just for me...the good and the bad and the ugly...and I start to get emotional JUST BECAUSE...I get scared. What do I do with these emotions? What are they and why am I just realizing them at this ripe old age...

And then I get overwhelmed thinking I am so undeserving...of these friends and these blessings I've been experiencing...

And then I get overwhelmed thinking I'm still not sure what I want to do when I "grow up," or thinking I should already KNOW...what's wrong with me???

And then I get overwhelmed thinking I kind of am "grown up" and my kid is going to kindergarten...but I don't seem to be feeling the sadness or strong emotions that others around me seem to be feeling (or at least what they are expressing on social media...) and I wonder if I am a bad parent for not being sad and not crying at this next stage (because really I have been looking forward to this for weeks months)...

And with all this overwhelmedness (it's underlined in red, but I think it should be a word) came tears...I tried to hold them back. In front of my friends. In front of my husband. For myself.

But I think the floodgates opened up and the emotions got the best of me. Grateful. Nervous. Scared. Excited. Blessed. Jealous. Weak. And probably many more that I don't even know how to name yet...

That's just me. Not "emotional." But full of emotions that I don't know what to do with and don't often want to experience...

But I am grateful for a husband who noticed and cared enough to want to know more and to try to get me to talk them out and understand them. Don't want it to be a daily deal, but I do want to be open. To change. To growth. To new things. To love.

And sharing.

It's not always fun. It's not always easy. But I think it should be how we do life. Sharing it!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My Glass Cabinets

I wrote a post about appearances the other day, and by doing so, I could seem like I have it all figured out and I don't worry about it at all. But this is so far from the truth of my life. It's a daily's just that I am realizing it and wanting something different.

I was awake in bed early this morning pondering this stuff again. In a slightly different way this time. We moved yesterday. After just a year in a townhouse, we got the opportunity to rent a single family home and so we moved again, just down the street. This new house has something I haven't personally had in a house before.

Glass cabinets in the kitchen.

This scares me.

Whatever I put in there, there's no hiding it.

It's wide open for all to see.

Not just the people who are so close they come in and make themselves at home and know what's in all your cabinets regardless. Those are the people that are ok with your junk (whether it be in the trunk or in the cabinets or anywhere else) and it doesn't feel quite as scary because they love you anyway.

But then there is everyone else. I wrestled for hours as I unpacked the kitchen (always the first place I unpack in a new house) and wondered what I should put on those shelves that would be available for all to see. Whether I liked it or not. Whether it was neat and tidy or not. Whether I was ready for them to see it all or not.

OK, that may have gotten a little deeper there. But that's where my mind went. I am so worried about my new glass cabinets in the same way I am worried about letting myself be "glass" for others. I like to hide the junk. I like to keep it hidden inside and only let those in that have "earned" it.

But I'm sure (in a scary and uncertain way) that this just isn't how it's supposed to be. If I hide my junk then I don't give others the freedom to see mine and share theirs. God takes my junk and uses it for others to be able to see His Glory and His redemption and His goodness. But if I keep all of that hidden inside then I miss out on His grace and others miss out on seeing ALL of me. ALL of who HE created me to be.

So, there has to be more. And if my glass cabinets will help to be a daily reminder to let others see ALL of me, then so be it. Here I am! Come have a look at my new glass cabinets. Come and stay for a while so you can have a look inside of me too. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

It's all about appearances...or is it?

I grew up thinking that appearances were one of the most important things to consider. Things need to look good on the outside. It doesn't matter as much what the inside looks like, as long as we don't let people see it and we manage the outside well.

Over the years I have most certainly dealt with this struggle internally. Not wanting to be all about appearances, while at the same time constantly wanting to appear as though I have it all together. Not wanting to try to fit in to the "mold" while at the same time just wanting to blend in to my surroundings.

But the freedom I have felt more recently by just being able to be me and not always trying to overcompensate or apologize for that has been amazing. Having friends that I really feel comfortable just being around feels so freeing. To be able to ask for help. To not have to say sorry for everything my boys do and make them appear perfect to others. To be able to admit that I have a lot going on right now and I need help with that dinner I said I would prepare. To be ok with not making something from scratch this time. To be ok with not always trying to make sure we are "even" and just knowing that we are friends and it will all even out at some point, without feeling guilty about who is giving and who is receiving at any one moment. I still struggle with all of these. With changing life-long habits and patterns, but I see that it can be different. That I can be ok with my flaws. That it's better to do life together than to appear flawless.

Freedom feels good. I am not perfect. My kids are not perfect. We are far from it. I am often weak and lonely and worrisome and prideful and I want to be around more people who see this and know this and still love me! My kids yell and hit and bite and lie and I want to be around people who see this and know this and don't try to fix them or fix me, but instead love us and through that love help us grow.

It's been almost a year since we moved to this new town. I wrote this post on my pride shortly after that move. Asking for humility is hard and scary and stretching...But it is good. Good to release the need to feel right and perfect and justified in everything. And looking back at the year, I see not only that God is growing me, but also the people God has brought into my life to help me see things differently. And feel them differently. Not to feel loved because of the appearances I have tried so hard to control, but to feel loved just for being me. To feel loved even when people do see it all, and that only makes them love me more.

And feeling the freedom to be me is something that I don't want to lose now that I have "tasted and seen." God is good. He has brought people into my life to be this for me. To show me more clearly what this should look like.  

Monday, August 4, 2014

My rainbow reminder...

I wish I could have captured the whole rainbow that day. It was random and spontaneous and beautiful.
And my thought was "this is supposed to be a reminder of God's promises" but it was a head thing. I couldn't feel it. It wouldn't seem to go any deeper than the head knowledge of the promise. I thought "it's really pretty" and that was about the extent of it.
But today, as I look back through recent pictures, I see it again and feel it more. God's promises. I feel them deeper this time.
I've experienced the answered prayers over the past weeks...months...and looking back at this picture, placing myself once again on the back deck observing the beauty I saw with my eyes that night, I feel it deeper in my heart this time. I can look back and see where God has heard my cries and is revealing himself to me. He knows my heart. He hears my cries. He has promised to never leave or forsake us and I feel this more today. Feeling grateful!

Summer Fun

Summer has been fun.
And hard.
The neighborhood pool has been great for Micah learning to swim, and for overall just wearing the boys out during the day.
But the days sometimes get long, and as much as I know I shouldn't, I sometimes wish away summer so the boys will be back in school.
I like the structure of the school year, but I also like the laziness of summer.
I like that we are moving into a new house soon, but don't like the process of packing and moving again.
Looking back on pictures for the summer, though, one of my favorite parts is getting to go to Watermarks Camp. We went for a whole week in the beginning of the summer and then for a day visit in the middle.
It was awesome because I love it there, love the people, love being outside all day exploring...and it was awesome to introduce our boys to this and watch them thrive. Watch them experience things that they wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to try...



That face sums it up. 

I am ready for summer to end. I am ready for the kids to go to school. 
But I don't want to wish this time away, so this is a good reminder to me today of some of the fun we have had and how much I love being able to have adventures with my boys and see the excitement of life through their eyes!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Tap Out.

 Isaiah, tapping out. 

I've never wanted to watch wrestling.
I've never wanted my kids to be involved in wrestling.
But having 3 boys, I've been told they "need" wrestling as boys. They need to get that energy out and feel connected in that way. And I see it now. I do. I just want them to do it where and with whom their supposed to (and this doesn't always happen) but I do get it.
And it wasn't until I learned all this that I learned what "tap out" means. Not sure I know exactly, but I know for our boys it's when they are being wrestled and they need out. They need to be done. They need the person who is weighing them down to get off of them.
Some days I feel like I just need to Tap Out.
Tap. Out.
There is so much wrestling that goes on in my head on a daily basis. And so much that weighs me down some days. I just want to tap out. I want to stop wrestling in my head. Want to stop over analyzing EVERY. little. thing. Want to stop carrying the burden. I mean, some days it feels like everything. From the food that goes into our mouths to the piles of laundry to making sure my kids are "smart enough" for school and all that involves, to making sure bills are paid...and the list goes on.
I don't always feel overwhelmed. I think in general I am a pretty cool, calm, and collected person. But there are wrestling matches that go on in my head. And in my house. From simple things like have my boys had any fruits or vegetables today, to bigger things, like where are my kids going to go to school and how are we going to make sure we as parents are the biggest influences in their lives instead of friends/peer pressure.
There are so many things I could worry about. So many things I DO worry about. I worry about money, and school, and food, and good looks, and material possessions, and how my boys will turn out, and how much damage I am doing to them, and our old house we still own, and blah, blah, blah, blah...
And then I think about how easy I have it and I feel bad for worrying about any of these things! I know I will have a next meal and I know where it will come from. I know we have 1 car even if we don't have 2 and the one we have is ghetto. I know we have a roof, and clothes, and schools to choose from, and heat, and multiple Bibles, and a Jesus who loves us and died for US. We have so much to be thankful for and we are so blessed! And this is what I need to remember when the wrestling starts to happen. I need to Tap Out. Not just to ignore, but to get out from under the weight of it all and LET JESUS take over. Because that's what he wants. And that's what I need. I need to get over myself, and look beyond myself, and allow myself to be loved by Jesus and love others like Jesus. The worry and the weight gets in the way of all of this.
So "tap out."
I'm letting Go.
And letting Jesus. Take. Over.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Judah turns 4!

I love my little Judah bug!

Judah might be the one I've most consistently written about around birthdays. And looking back over my posts, not much as changed...
From the birth story...
To just before turning 1...
To becoming a big brother and then turning 2...
To turning 3, which seems like just yesterday...
And then my recent post on wanting to be like Judah when I grow up...

Time flies.
Not much has changed.
He's still the most dramatic, the most like Matt, the runt of the boys, the most agreeable, the monkey, likes being naked, etc...

There are some newer things, though, that I enjoy.
Like how he responds in general to almost any request, whether in the positive or negative. He almost always says, "I would(n't)."

For examples, because they make me laugh now and I don't want to forget one day...

"Judah, please don't hit your brother again."
Judah, "I wouldn't."

"Can you throw this in the trash for me?"
Judah, "I would."

Other things I love are the conversations we have that are in all seriousness, and always make me laugh...Recently:
Judah is down playing in the basement (where there is a bathroom) when he runs up two floors to go to the bathroom on the third level.
Me, "Judah, there's a bathroom in the basement, why didn't you go down there?"
Judah, "Because I had a plan."
Me, "Oh, a plan to come up here to use the toilet?"
Judah, "Yeah. To play in the basement. And to sleep and poop upstairs."
Me, "Oh, right."

And maybe my favorite. He is totally convinced that I am his wife now and will always be! And he has gotten a little upset if I have talked about him having a wife in the future in a way that describes the wife as not being me. So cute and so funny! He does have a "special friend" right now named PJ, but I'm glad that he still thinks I'm the only girl for him!!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

An Epic Fail...

 The recent big snow here was great! The kind we only get every 5 or so years. We got over a foot and got to be "snowed in" for a day as a family. We had to do the hard stuff like shoveling our way out...but got to do lots of fun stuff too, like make treats with sprinkles on them, make snow angels, build a snowman, make snow "ice" cream for the first time, etc. It was great to have the hubs home and great to just try and create memories with the boys...

But then there was the time that I found and idea on pinterest, and it was an epic fail. A little bit because there are 3 boys ages 2-5 in my house, but mostly because of me. Because I like things to go smoothly and according to plan. Because I like things to happen the way I expect them to. Because maybe I like to be in control. A little too much.

I can't find the exact site again right now, but this was the idea of what I wanted to do with the boys. They love to paint and I thought it would be a great new take on painting they could enjoy. The part that went great was me just opening the back door and scooping a huge bowl of soft snow off our back porch. After that it kind of went downhill. Complaints about who would pick colors first. Pushing. Whining. More complaining. Me trying to reassure them (and myself) how much fun we were about to have. Boys that I'm trying to get to help that still need help with many things themselves. More whining. Spills. Food coloring stains. More whining about who gets what paintbrush.

And then I finally get all the pieces together and we are ready to paint. Not sure at this point why I didn't just bag the whole thing and call it quits. Hope for what it could be, I guess. But it wasn't as glamorous as I thought. They didn't like the paper I picked. They didn't like the paintbrushes they picked. They didn't like how it looked. More spills. More whining (from me too...).

It wasn't working and I could feel the tension rising inside of me. Spills were happening. Stains were appearing. Holes in the paper. Leaks through the paper. Food coloring staining everything. And I came a bit "unglued." I'm reading the book Unglued, and even though I hate to admit it, I have more of these moments than I want. Sometimes at the littlest things. That seem huge in the moment. And this did me in for the day. I was done. I hated pinterest. I wanted the boys to quickly go away so I could try to salvage my pride a bit and clean up the mess without too much damage the table and floor, and also to my boys.

And in those few moments, I realized (I learned in a new way about myself) just how much control I like to have. Just how neat I like things to be. Just how pretty I want the package to look on the outside. Just how easy the littlest thing could take a day that was going great and turn it upside down for me.

But just like I'm trying to teach Micah these days (probably because he is a lot like me, whether I want to admit it or not), each day is a new day. We get to start over. A clean slate. And I am SO grateful for that! And so grateful for forgiving boys who don't hold these moments over my head. Just like my Heavenly Father!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

When I grow up...

None of my kids are perfect.
I'm very aware of this.
I do have favorites.
But it depends on the day...

Just the other day, though, I found myself thinking, "I want to be more like Judah when I grow up."
He has his faults. I don't want the dramatic side or the easily embarrassed side. I don't want to be a boy! I don't want to run around in my underwear all day. But I do want to experience life a little more through his lenses.

Judah sleeps the least. And I think it might be because he loves life so much and he's afraid he's going to miss something! He talks to himself. He yells. Sings to himself. Makes up stories. Talks in "Spanish." And he loves it. He loves himself! He gets upset when we tell him over and over how awesome he is! How awesome God made him! He gets upset because he says, "No, I already know that!"

He gets it. And he experiences life in a way I don't know if I ever fully have.

Judah is in awe of life. His excitement is bubbly and contagious and genuine. One example: we recently got a book from the library called Wink. Disclaimer: I am going to give away the ending...Judah was the first I read this book to after it came home. He was so into it the whole way through. And as we neared the end, and Wink was announced as The Nimble Ninja at the circus, Judah's love of life and people and his genuine excitement for Wink spilled out of his mouth as his exclaimed, "He still gets to be a ninja!!"

I want this filter. This excitement. And I want it genuine like his is.
And he does a stellar machine gun noise out of his mouth.

I want to be a little more like Judah when I grown up...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

To learn or Not to Learn...That is the Question.

In my first 2 weeks of my year of "learning," I think most of it so far has been me opening up and taking a harder look inside myself. I'm reading some books, listening to some podcasts, learning things here and there...but by far it's the inside stuff...And something that matt shared with me this week went something like this, "the greatest learners have found ways to turn criticism into opportunities." So, that's my goal. Opportunity for change!

I wrote a lot down this past week, things I'm learning and such. But the one that struck me most at the time, and has had a hard time leaving my mind, is one that really brought out some strong emotions that I didn't know I had, or that I had never let BE. I'm not a "feeler." It's not a bad thing. Sometimes I think I should be. I know others who are. I just don't tend to enjoy dealing much with my feelings or emotions. But some of them came flooding to the surface last week.

The church that my husband and I recently moved from (after both of us being there more than a decade, and getting married there and having our kids start coming there in their first days of life...) opened up it's doors last week when the weather was bitterly cold and people needed a place to stay. It started for homeless but they also took in dozens of elderly one night too. More on that story. I began seeing posts and pictures from friends on facebook all about it. I was so excited for this. For the Body of Christ BEING the Body to those in need. For those getting a warm bed and loving service. For all that could come of the opportunity. I really enjoyed the posts. I don't get really excited about much. I'm just not that excitable. But I "liked" all the pictures and posts I could!

At first. Then I began to feel a little jealous, I think. I chalked it up to "Holy jealousy." That it was okay because I wanted to be doing what they were doing, but for God's glory. So, that makes it Holy, right? I wanted to be there. I wanted to be a part. I wished they had done stuff like that when we were there. They were changing, for the good, and they were impacting the community as a part of this change.

I think at this point it changed a little to frustration. At this point, this is a lot of emotion for me... Why couldn't I be there? Why didn't they do this before? Why now? Why were we so far away? Why did it bother me so much? I needed to stop looking at the pictures.

As I continued to wrestle with this, I began to ask myself even more questions. Do I just want to be there so bad because I know I can't? Does this help me feel better about myself? If I was there, would I be as involved as I think I want to be when I am so far away and I can't be? What would it really look like for me? Would I make excuses about having 3 small boys or being too busy or living too far away? If it bothered me so much, why wasn't I doing something like this on my own? Why didn't I find my own opportunities? Frankly, I was really hard on myself.

I want to be giving and serving and loving and caring and always put others before and above myself. But when it comes down to it, what am I doing to BE these things? Ultimately, to BE more like Christ. Am I starting with my family? My husband? My kids? Am I keeping my eyes open to see all the needs around me? And when I see them, do I make excuses and keep walking on, or do I stop to think about how I can be part of the solution?

So many thoughts and emotions and feelings and stuff that I didn't know I would feel by seeing some pictures on facebook. So, I'm open. To learn. About why God has allowed me to feel these emotions and about what He wants to change in me as a result.

It's only week 2...this could be a hard year!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Year Happenings

I wrote a post about my "word" for the year. I started this a few years back when I read about it on another blog. It seemed neat. I'm not one for fads, but now, it seems more like a fad. Like the "in" thing to do is to have "one word." This makes me not want to have my word. But, alas, I had already decided on it and written my post about it before I started seeing it all over the internet...

My word is LEARN. Shortly (like maybe minutes) after I wrote the post, my mom (from across the room on her computer) asked if I was going to keep track. Kind of like the "One Thousand Gifts" book that we had both read, writing it all down in a notebook. I was unsure I wanted to go this far...but decided in the end that it would be good for me. To keep track. To remember. To kind of give a voice to it and make it more real. So I'm keeping a little notebook. It's only been a week, but I'm on track and I think it is helping me evaluate things (including myself) better.

So, as my 2 loyal followers (my mom and my hubs) are on the edge of their seats waiting to know what I've learned thus are just a few from my week. Some are things I learned from others and are way easy to share. Some are about how I am so messed up and they aren't as fun to share. But it's what I'm learning...

1. Don't miss the opportunity to do something good while waiting to do something great!

2. I am quick to raise my voice (mostly at my kids) and slow to show compassion and grace. But I am way better at this when I know others are watching.

3. I am good at finding, researching, pinning, etc. but I am pretty terrible at follow-through.

4. It is way easier to engage in a conversation with someone when I stop every thing else I am doing and hold eye contact (even as awkward as long eye contact feels for me).

5. I get more easily annoyed with one of my boys than the other two. Probably because he is most like me. And I keep realizing more ways he is like me. And it's teaching me more about me and about him. Now, for that compassion to kick in...

These are just a few. It's been a great week of learning. Of reading and listening and self-evaluating.